Navigating the Sea of Metrics: A Dive into Effective Public Relations Measurement
30 August 2023
In PR, where impressions are made and perceptions shaped, the importance of accurate measurement and metrics cannot be overstated. The days of relying on outdated and arbitrary measurements are behind us – AVE for starters – thanks in part to industry bodies like the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), of which With is a member.
The Evolution of PR Measurement
AMEC, a global organisation dedicated to promoting the importance of measurement and evaluation in communications, has played a pivotal role in reshaping how PR professionals approach measurement. Their Barcelona Principles, serve as a guideline for effective PR measurement and emphasise the need for meaningful, quantifiable results. With has been fully embracing AMEC’s principles and paving our own path into meaningful measurement, ensuring that it is ingrained within everything we do. Only by placing measurement at the epicentre of our work can we continue to develop and evolve our campaigns for the better.
With’s approach to measurement:
1. Set Clear Objectives: Effective measurement begins with defining clear objectives for your PR campaigns, which must be defined at the earliest stage possible. What are you trying to achieve? Increased brand awareness, improved reputation, lead generation? Objectives guide the selection of appropriate metrics.
2. Measure Outcomes, Not Just Outputs: Too often one is mistaken for the other, leading the less scrutable believing their campaigns have been a whopping success due to overuse of vanity mentions. For example, counting media mentions can offer a basic sense of visibility but it’s essential to dig deeper and analyse outcomes that demonstrate real impact. This might involve tracking changes in public perception, shifts in sentiment, or behavioural changes among your target audience.
3. Integrate Measurement: PR does not operate in isolation to all other elements of any business. Integrating PR measurement with overall business metrics provides a holistic view of how PR efforts contribute to broader organisational goals.
Shedding Light on Outdated Measurement Practices
The PR landscape has evolved considerably, yet some outdated measurement practices still linger. These practices often fail to capture the true value of PR efforts and can hinder decision-making. Here are a few examples:
1. Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE): AVE fails to consider the qualitative differences between earned and paid media and does not reflect actual impact.
2. Impressions Alone: Relying solely on impressions (the potential number of people exposed to your content) neglects whether the content actually resonated with the audience. It’s a quantity-focused metric that lacks depth.
3. Vanity Metrics: Metrics like social media likes, shares, and followers can be misleading if not considered in the context of broader objectives.
Choosing the Right Metrics: A Strategic Approach
To ensure you’re measuring the right metrics, consider the following steps:
1. Align Metrics with Objectives: Tailor your measurement approach to the specific objectives of your PR campaigns. If your goal is to enhance brand reputation, metrics could include sentiment analysis and brand perception data.
2. Focus on Audience Engagement: Metrics that reflect audience engagement, such as click-through rates, time spent on page, and social media comments, provide insights into the effectiveness of your messaging.
3. Measure Conversion: Ultimately, PR efforts should contribute to driving tangible business outcomes. Tracking conversions, such as lead generation or website sign-ups, connects PR activities to bottom-line impact. Sales team feedback isn’t always quantifiable, but it is just as insightful.
Why not take a look at a collection of our latest and greatest case studies to see meaningful metrics in action:
Cimpress – Talent Acquisition & Brand Reputation
MullenLowe – Securing Key Award Nomination
Bett – Delivering Onsite Journalist Activations
VistaPrint – Driving Grant Applications
LifeStreet – Creating Leads Through Social Engagement